The Montreal Canadiens will face-off against the Ottawa Senators this evening for the third time in the span of a week. Coming off two consecutive victories over the Senators last weekend, the trifecta would put the Habs in a slightly more comfortable position atop the Atlantic.
Yet, with back-to-back losses this week to a pair of beatable teams in Detroit and Carolina, there has to be some concern heading into this one. The Habs did not look the part of division leaders after a 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Thursday, and head coach Claude Julien will no doubt be looking for an answer.
With no shortage of familiarity between these clubs, and the division title potentially at stake, tonight’s game has all the makings of a heated affair.
How to watch
Puck drop: 7:30 PM EDT / 4:30 PM PDT
In Canada: Sportsnet (English), TVAS (French)
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Gamecentre Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
|52.42||Score-Adjusted Corsi %||48.12|
|1.17||5v5 Goal Ratio||0.93|
The Ottawa Senators come into tonight’s game with a fair bit of momentum after knocking off both the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this week. Back-to-back losses to the Habs last weekend will no doubt be in mind, and may only serve as motivation for the team sitting just one point back of the lead.
Despite coming off consecutive wins against those teams, the Senators haven’t exactly dominated games as of late. Ottawa was out-shot by both the Bruins and Penguins - impressively-so by Boston - yet managed to sneak out with two points.
This has been the Senators’ modus operandi this season, as they sit toward the bottom of the league in CF%. Despite that, Ottawa remains in the race to win the division, thanks largely in part to the play of their goaltenders. Craig Anderson has looked terrific this year when he has played, while Mike Condon has been similarly solid in relief through much of the year.
Mike Hoffman serves as the hot-hand for the Sens in this game, as the Ontario-native has recorded points in each of the team’s last five contests. With 22 goals on the year, Hoffman is a scoring threat that may prove difficult for the Habs’ blue-line to handle.
Nearly as good over the past two weeks has been Kyle Turris, who has put up five points in five games since last week. Turris leads the Senators in goals with 25 this season, and together with Hoffman represents the two Ottawa forwards operating most efficiently.
The slim cushion the Habs created for themselves with a pair of wins over the Senators last weekend has now all-but-evaporated thanks to the performance of each team since. Tonight’s game, then, could be the deciding factor in the divisional race with just two weeks left in the regular season.